I Tried Magnesium Spray On Sore Muscles — And I Was Floored

Photo: VeaVea

I invest a lot of resources in taking care of my body and muscles: regular bodywork, foam rolling, tiger-tailing, yoga, Pilates, nightly stretching, and trigger point release, to name a few on regular rotation. I’ve tried healing "cooling" and "warming" salves, upping my hydration and electrolytes, and active recovery classes. None are as immediately effective as magnesium spray.

I’m a fan of magnesium. I’ve been taking 500 mg of nightly oral magnesium supplements for about a year and have found it to be helpful for relaxing. While the jury is still out on whether spray or supplementation is more effective, for me, they serve different purposes.

The first time I tried magnesium spray was at my desk, after getting a bottle delivered from Nue Co called magnesium ease. Other companies make magnesium oil, too, but this one contains arnica and lavender, which seemed like healing mix of ingredients. The modern packaging looked less medical than other brands—the instructions say that three squirts will deliver 45 milligrams of magnesium. I went ahead and spritzed my right arm in the middle of a stressful day, figuring I had nothing to lose and potential relief to gain. The spray feels like a body oil that’s "working" on your skin. I tried it in the dead of winter, and it made my arm dry, probably because it was already combined with the fact that magnesium is included as a salt.

I did feel more relaxed but couldn’t tell if it was the lavender, arnica, magnesium, or the good old placebo effect. I had to test it out in a way that didn’t depend on emotionality—so I decided to wait until I was super sore to try it again.

Soon enough, that time came. I ran a 5k—permission to laugh—much faster than I normally do. My typical run is a steady nine- or 10-minute mile, trodding along on the treadmill for a couple of miles max. I’m working back up to running longer distances outdoors, but with asthma in New York City, progress is slow and steady.

There’s something about race-day energy that really keeps you going. A solitary run with a good playlist is worlds different than running alongside others, seeing people you don’t know happily cheer you on from the sidelines, and, many times, having a purpose to your run that’s bigger than getting a workout in. I ran at an 8:36 pace, which to many is slow, but for me was much quicker than I’d been pacing on my own. Sure enough, when I felt the soreness set in later that evening, I knew it would be intense the next day—perfect testing grounds for the magnesium spray.

And it was! Both legs were equally sore. I sprayed my right leg that night and felt immediate relief—walking around it felt tired but hardly sore at all. I couldn’t believe it; I thought it was my mind playing tricks again! To eliminate that possibility, I decided to try my left leg the next morning. Upon waking, both were more sore than they had been in years. I was actually hobbling—I definitely overdid it on race day and also definitely would be able to tell whether the magnesium spray works once and for all. I doused my left leg, using more than the recommended three sprays, and sure enough the pain faded. It didn’t last for long, but the contrast between left and right was clear.

I was floored! As it turns out, a little magnesium goes a long way.

I like trying things. Do yourself a favor and read about the time I tried naked yoga—it will make you smile.

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